The Matrix

Matrix – a substance, situation, or environment in which something has its origin, takes form, or is enclosed.

The Apostle Paul told us: “But the fruit of the Sprit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” (Gal 5:22-23)

It seems to me that the vast majority of modern American Christians profess one thing but live something else.  How can this be when Jesus message was so simple and direct?  I think they are on the wrong side of Calvary, living in the realm of fallen humanity, but believing they are in the Kingdom of God.  Calvary, that place of death, is a mandatory stop on our journey to the Kingdom, but very few want to die. 

Like the people who existed in the movie called The Matrix, there is a pseudo life most are caught in – a dreamlike state wherein a person buys into the mantra of the religious hawkers and accepts symbolism as substance.  It is closely akin to the old story of “The Emperor who wore no clothes”.  If enough people say something is real, there is credence given even if there are no results.

Jesus said:  “Many are called but few are chosen. “ These few have died to this present world and surrendered totally to God’s will.  His Spirit is in control of their existence and they live, and move, and have their being in the Kingdom of God.  This world is not their home and they anxiously await the day they can physically join Jesus in eternity.  They have left the Matrix behind and spend their remaining life trying to rescue as many souls as possible from the grip of the Kingdom of this present world. 

It’s easy to find these people, not by what they call themselves or how they look, but by their fruit.  What follows in their wake as they walk through life is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, gentleness, and self-control.  These are the chosen few who walk in the Kingdom.

 

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Time to abide

For some reason my mind does crazy things.  Today it decided that there is no such thing as time.   Yes, I wear a watch, and sometimes I actually consult it, but is it really telling me anything? Time is simply change in the physical universe, or as the dictionary says:  “a continuum which lacks spatial dimensions and in which events succeed one another from past through present to future.”  Our mind has memory of past moments, and constructs models of possible moments to come, but it is not possible to live in either of them. No, the only point at which we exist is this present moment. 

Jesus said “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, you shall ask what you will, and it shall be done unto you.”  That word “abide” means to cling to, endure, remain or wait for.  We can only abide right now, this present moment.  Wouldn’t it then follow that we should never do anything else but abide in Him?  Every moment of our life, every action or process we take, every aspect of our existence should be abiding in Him, and His words abiding in us.

Jesus also said “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”  If we are to seek the Kingdom first, and the only time we can exist is this present moment, how can we seek anything else?  Does it seem there are things that need to be added to your life?  Then seek only the Kingdom, and God will take care of the rest.

You’re probably wondering how to abide in Him or seek the Kingdom when the boss is pressuring you for production or the kids are falling apart over the cereal.   For myself, I stay cognizant of the fact that God is with me; indeed He is within me right now.  How big the right now is depends on how much pressure there is.  For those times when life is mellow and flowing, my awareness covers a large span of moments, but as events ramp up the point gets tighter and sharper.  Since I’m abiding in God, He and I get more compacted, and when the door bell rings, it is He who answers, not me.

Time?  What’s that?  I’m just hanging out with my Lord.


Religion vs Spirituality

As the old-timers used to say, I’ve had a burr under my saddle for a while now about this subject.  How much of what we do is out of tradition and ritual, and how much is genuine spiritual merging of our soul with His presence?  Our recent trip to the Holy Land did nothing but exacerbate the issue as I observed the pilgrims paying homage to the various sacred locations in the ornate church buildings.  That many were greatly moved was evident from their expressions and tears.  It hit me also in one spot, the cistern where Jesus was held while waiting for His trial.  Jesus had physically touched that exact spot and it gave me connectivity to the whole story. 

 Jesus came castigating the Scribes and Pharisees for their requirements of observing the minutia of the Law and disregarded the Sabbath rules of no work.  He repeatedly stressed that the letter of the law was not as important as following Him.  On the other hand, he told the people to obey the leader’s teaching, just not to follow their actions.  He also was a devout Jew who followed the class system of that day and told the Canaanite woman she was a dog.

 How much of our modern Christian experience flows from the human tendency to worship the procedure, or observe routines from habit?  Do we actually live and walk in the Spirit, or do we practice religion and say it is the same thing?

 So where is the line between these issues, or is there a bigger picture wherein religious practices undergird our spirituality?  Do we need the one to have the other?  The spiritual disciplines of fasting, prayer, community worship, solitude, and all the other practices that a healthy child of God observes, are crucial to our walk in the Kingdom of God.  But I wonder what Jesus thinks of the concept of religion today – that attending church , singing three songs, making a donation and listening to a sermon meets all the necessary requirements.  I did those things all my life but it sure did not make me spiritual.